Two more British wholesalers have been snapped up by fast growing Irish group BWG. The most significant of the two deals is the acquisition of drinks wholesaler Bargain Booze ­ an £80m turnover company supplying 160 franchise off licences. BWG chief executive Leo Crawford told The Grocer he was keen to see that business grow nationally outside its heartland in the north west of England. He said Bargain Booze was already expanding at a rate of one franchise drinks store a week and added: "We see Bargain Booze as having very good potential in its existing area and I would like to expand the franchise in other areas where we are involved." Trade sources say Bargain Booze's first moves will come in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands. Alan Whittle and Rob Mayor continue as joint mds to oversee the expansion. This time last year, BWG bought Bargain Booze's partner and Key Lekkerland member Goodwins. Back then, the drinks wholesaler said it wanted to continue as a standalone operation. BWG has a good track record in building owner operated stores through its work within the Spar and Mace symbol groups. And Crawford stressed the latest deal did not represent any change in strategy. "Bargain Booze is a franchise operation and does not own stores. Our strategy is very much wholesale rather than retail." That strategy was underlined by this week's acquisition of Key Lekkerland member E Round & Son. As well as Goodwins, BWG owns Key Lekkerland members Symonds and Saxtons. The Grocer broke the news it was in talks with Round ­ a £25m business in Birmingham ­ before Christmas (December 11, p4). Crawford said BWG planned to integrate Round into Goodwins and would supply customers using Goodwins' warehouse and distribution services. Stephen Round will work as a consultant within BWG. The aggressive acquisition strategy being pursued by BWG ­ part of Pernod Ricard ­ meant that it passed a significant milestone before Christmas when its sales hit I£1bn. But Crawford said: "There are no other deals in the pipeline at the moment." {{NEWS }}